Monday, October 28, 2013

Love in Excess (Dance)

 The original draft of this was buried in Blogger drafts from 2012. I updated it, tweaked it, and now share it with you.

One of my students back at PSU loves to dance. She's an architectural engineer. As most architectural engineers I've met (I even roomed with one), she is over committed and over-worked. She recently wrote a post about how she knows that dance isn't her calling in life. It isn't what she's skilled at. For her, it doesn't make sense that she loves it and wants to invest time in it. One time she posted on my wall, "I gave up my dance dreams a long time ago. I try not to think about it too often."

 I ask these questions too, especially since I know that the more I invest in dance, the more I want to do it. And yet my time is limited. I can't put everything in that I want. We're in the same boat: as far as I can tell, dance isn't going to be my life.

 However, since coming to Bulgaria, I've come to the opposite sense: maybe dance is going to be my life. Or, at least, in my life. Can anything truly be said to be our whole lives?

My interest has been sparked. I'm in an area where ballroom is for "professionals". Salsa is the dance of the masses. In a country that is more known for folk dances. But night life... this is full of latin and merengue and bachata and zook. I can dance and not have to know words.

I'm suddenly ready to interview and study and make something of my interest in dance. While talking with Robbie after an ecstatic rumba lesson, I observed, "I don't know what it's for, but I think I'm supposed to dance. A kind of calling. Not a primary one. But a calling." I could sense him agreeing with his cheerful, "Mhmm!" Then he quieted. "For me too."

Last night, I missed my first semi-formal in the past 3 years. Hard to believe. I haven't thought about it too deeply for fear that my insides might start wailing. These semi-formals are highlights of every semester. 3-4 hours of making stuff up and goofing off and fun dances and rushing from one partner to the next or hands shaking from dehydration because I can't bother to stop long enough to drink water. The semi-formals are the celebration of a semester of work in Rm 133, of sweating and swearing and getting really pissed at your partner (or they at you) and broken toe nails and bruised feet. I miss these times. All the work and play that went into them.

Why is this so wonderful? Or why do I feel like it is so wonderful? What's the point? Sometimes it happens when I'm in front of the mirror putting on makeup. Sometimes it happens in the middle of a dance when I feel the swirl of my skirt and notice the blur of the lights that line the the dance floor. Sometimes its in the middle of the worst days.

Still, dancing stays.

I suspect, along with my favorite song writers and artists, that "when there's beauty, how it matters" (Sara Groves). A kind of grace that lets us love things in excess? That there is extravagance that mirrors the extravagance of God in His creation for us to do things like dance?

G.K. Chesteron said that "everything worth doing is worth doing badly." I'd like to think that dance for us "non-professionals" or even things like poetry for the non-writers, are gifts from God. Even kinds of calling. They are worth doing even if we do them badly.

Eh. Important questions. I just need to get myself to dance studio again. And soon. 

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